4:10pm 08/06/2022
In Malaysia’s future, will it be only one religion or many religions?
By:Prof. Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

The statement of the Minister for Islamic Affairs (he is supposed to be Minister for Religious Affairs but he seems to only cater to Muslims) paid by Muslim and non-Muslim taxpayers, have come out with his warning to Muslims not to attend the Bon Odori Festival.

Honestly, before this statement I didn’t even know what Bon Odori festival was, much as I like the many food, working styles, samurai culture of the Japanese people on YouTube.

As I have said in many previous articles, many ‘Islamic issues’ will surface because this is an election year.

GE15 will probably be in the middle of August 2022. Mark my words. I have been measuring the rate of ‘Islamic’ and ‘Malay’ issues and it is steadily increasing.

First we had the Ismail Sabri Bahasa Malaysia issue. Next came the aurat issue of non-Muslims entering government buildings, and then came the Nurulhidayah women not born to lead issue.

I noticed that Malaysians who are non-Malays have taken the bait, hook, line and sinker of all these election issues.

I have said that Malaysians who are not Muslims should stay away from making any comment on Islamic or Malay issues because this is the Melayu-Muslim strategy of PAS, PPBM and Umno to win the Malay votes from all levels of the society.

Malays are the most gullible lot in terms of protecting their religion without caring what the issues are.

Corrupt and ill-mannered Muslim leaders will always get a huge backing as long as the enemies are the Christians, Chinese, DAP and liberal Malays, all in that order.

Heck, you can even be promoted to Professor or be in a cushy PM assistant expert job!

Now, I want to tackle this Bon Odori business and the Minister of Islamic Affairs who is being paid with Muslim and non-Muslim taxes, statement in another way.

My question to Malaysians is will there be a Malaysia with only one religion or with many religions in the future?

Of course-lah, the Umno-PPBM-PAS gang will say ‘we are a democracy and our Rukun Negara guarantees the right of our people practicing any faith they want, but Muslims should still not go to the Bon Odori festival’. What a fantasy!

If we can accept that we Malaysians can practice any faith freely, what then does that imply for our relationship as citizens of this country? How do we citizens of different faiths relate to one another? How are our houses of worship to be designed in terms of humanitarian spaces and shared community spaces? What do we do during religious celebrations?

Well, according to PAS and Umno, as I understand it, Muslims and Malays must never visit places of worship of other religions nor celebrate any religious or cultural celebrations that once had ties with religious beliefs.

However, Islam can impose any dress codes, practices and adhan sounds or Qur’anic recitation anytime, anywhere and any how because Islam is the only religion that matters in the Constitution as ugama rasmi.

As I have said in many previous articles, many ‘Islamic issues’ will surface because this is an election year.

Malays who have never set foot in a university and Malays who have donned the PhD robes in this country, I am sure, will support this medieval stand of this minister whose salary is paid by many pork-eating citizens.

By the way, my pension monthly is also paid by pork-eating citizens partly.

The previous paragraph is the model of citizen relationship that I have watched over four decades.

As an academic and a Malaysian, this model does not work and is wholly unjustified except for people who do not read, do not think, do not have discussions with others of different faiths and cultures and just don’t care because their ustaz advisors say stick to your religious prisons and you will fly into heaven.

These people are all frogs under the tempurung regardless of their Oxford or MIT education.

Now, in my family, I don’t buy many clothes or shoes. I just have a few pairs of pants, shirts and two pairs of working shoes, and that’s it!

I also don’t play online games or go to birthday parties or the many khenduris. But because my wife and daughters love shopping, I follow-lah…and pay for their many clothes, shoes and make-up stuff.

And because my sons love playing online games, I spend money buying all their computer hardware and listen patiently when they explain the game Godfall or WarCraft or whatever.

My wife loves attending birthdays, khenduris and family gatherings, and so I ikut sajalah. I even drive her to all these places and when I can’t, I pay my sons to do it.

To be a family, I have to be part of the world that my wife, sons and daughters are.

Now what about our nation? Is a nation not a ‘family’ of different people with different cultures, faiths and rituals?

Did I hear wrongly or did we hear Ismail Sabri calling us ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ or was he just speaking doubletalk as usual?

What the hell does Keluarga Malaysia mean when you can’t attend a Bon Odori festival, Christmas, or like Najib, dress in a kurta shirt and be in the middle of a Thaipusam celebration?

For me, Najib is looking better as a Malaysian leader than Ismail or Idris. Sorry, Anwar, but that’s what I see!

When I attended Christmas at churches with my Christian brethren, so many stupid Malay academics and activists branded me a murtad or a Christian sympathizer.

When I sat at the same table as Dong Zong or SEKAT, I was branded a Chinese or Indian sympathizer.

Apparently, in the future of Malaysia, Muslims cannot celebrate other religious festivals with their friends, cannot attend funerals of others, cannot eat at their temples and churches and cannot even wear the Santa Claus outfit just for fun.

Soon, hypermarkets cannot show pigs, hot dogs, crosses, the Madonna and Baby Jesus scenes, the eight-handed idols and other forms of shrines.

But Muslims can visit Borobudur, can climb the pyramids, can visit Westminster Abbey, eat the food served on Qantas, sleep on bed sheets of Hilton hotels, and can drink teh tarik with glasses that might have contained other drinks and drunk by pork-eating people.

Itu semua tak apa-lah because PAS-PPBM-Umno know Islam better than any of us thinking and critical Muslims who read and interact with others for a united and peaceful Malaysia.


Bon Odori: the need to review training and qualifications of religious officers and leaders

(Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor of Architecture at a local university and his writing reflects his own personal opinion entirely.)


Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
Bon Odori


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